What is the Difference Between a Direct & Indirect Kick?
Many parents often wonder, “what is the difference between a direct and indirect kick in soccer.” And, rightfully so. It can be confusing.
Soccer is a game of strategy and skill, and one of the most important aspects of the game is the free kick. A free kick is awarded to a team when an opposing player commits a foul, and it can be a direct or indirect free kick.
Understanding the difference between these two types of free kicks is essential for players, coaches, and fans alike.
Direct and indirect free kicks are similar in many ways, but they have some key differences that can affect the outcome of a game.
In this article, we will explore the differences between direct and indirect free kicks in soccer and how they can impact the game.
Before we dive into the specifics of each type of free kick, it’s important to understand the basic rules of soccer.
Soccer is played with two teams of eleven players each, and the objective of the game is to score more goals than the opposing team.
Players can use any part of their body except their hands and arms to move the ball around the field, and the game is divided into two halves.
When a player commits a foul, the referee will award a free kick to the opposing team. The location of the free kick depends on where the foul occurred, and the type of free kick awarded depends on the severity of the foul.
Now that we have a basic understanding of soccer and free kicks, let’s explore the differences between direct and indirect free kicks.
To get more acclimated to the soccer rules, check out our article ‘Soccer Rules & Regulations: The 17 Laws of the Game‘.
Direct Free Kick
Definition of a Direct Kick
A direct free kick is a type of free kick in soccer where the player taking the kick can score a goal without the ball touching any other player.
This is in contrast to an indirect free kick, where a goal cannot be scored unless the ball touches another player before entering the goal.
When is a Direct Kick Awarded?
A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team when a player commits a foul that is deemed dangerous. This can include tripping, pushing, or holding an opponent, as well as dangerous tackles, handballs, and other infractions.
A direct free kick can also be awarded if a player commits a handball offense.
How is it Taken?
The player taking the direct free kick must place the ball on the ground at the spot where the foul occurred.
The opposing team must be at least 10 yards away from the ball until it is kicked.
After the referee’s whistle, the player taking the kick can then either shoot directly at the goal or pass the ball to a teammate.
If the ball goes out of play or a goal is scored, the game will resume with a goal kick or kick-off, respectively.
Can a Goal Be Scored off a Direct Kick?
Yes! If the ball enters the goal directly from a direct free kick, a goal is awarded to the team taking the kick.
If the ball touches another player before entering the goal, the goal will still be allowed.
If the ball hits the post or crossbar and bounces back into play, the game will continue until the ball goes out of play or a goal is scored.
In conclusion, a direct free kick is awarded for serious fouls and other infractions, and the player taking the kick has the opportunity to shoot directly at the goal or pass to a teammate. However, it is important to remember that a goal can only be scored if the ball enters the goal directly, without touching any other player.
[Bonus] Here are some great examples of free kicks taken over the course of soccer history!
Indirect Free Kick
Definition of an Indirect Kick
An indirect free kick is a type of free kick awarded to a team for a non-foul offense committed by the opposing team.
Unlike a direct free kick, an indirect free kick cannot result in a goal unless it is touched by another player before crossing the goal line.
Similarly to a direct kick, the opposing team must also be at least 10 yards away from the ball when the kick is taken.
When is an Indirect Kick Awarded?
An indirect free kick is awarded for non-foul offenses such as offside, obstruction, offensive language on the field or sidelines, and other technical offenses.
It can also be awarded for a foul committed by the goalkeeper inside their own penalty area, such as holding onto the ball for more than six seconds or handling the ball after it was passed back to them by a teammate.
How is it Taken?
The ball must be stationary when the kick is taken, and the referee will blow their whistle to signal the start of play.
The kicker must touch the ball before another player can touch it, and the ball must move a visible distance before another player can touch it.
A strategy most teams implement is a quick and short touch by a player. Subsequently, another offensive player either passes or shoots it.
The opposing team must also be at least 10 yards away from the ball when the kick is taken.
Can a Goal Be Scored off an Indirect Kick?
If the ball goes directly into the goal from an indirect free kick without being touched by another player, the goal is disallowed, and a goal kick is awarded to the opposing team.
However, if the ball is touched by another field player or goalie before crossing the goal line, the goal is allowed, and the player who touched the ball last is credited with the goal.
[Bonus] Here’s some amazing indirect free kicks taken by the pros…
Differences between Direct and Indirect Free Kick
In summary, direct free kicks allow the player taking the kick to shoot the ball directly towards the goal without any other player touching it first.
Direct kicks are awarded when committing these types of fouls:
- Deliberately kicking an opponent
- Deliberately tripping an opponent
- Charging at an opponent
- Jumping toward an opponent in an aggressive manner
- Pushing or tackling an opponent with the upper body
Indirect free kicks, on the other hand, require another player to touch the ball before it can be played towards the goal.
Indirect kicks are awarded when players are called for a:
- Offside penalty
- Dangerous play
- Play that impedes an opponent without making contact
- Using offensive, insulting or abusive language, actions, or other verbal offenses
- Jumping in front of the goalie to prevent them from kicking or throwing the ball
- Passing it back to the keeper
Understanding the difference between direct and indirect free kicks is essential for anyone who wants to enjoy soccer. Parents especially so we aren’t yelling at the refs for a rule we don’t understand…just kidding 😉
Direct free kicks are awarded for serious fouls, such as tripping, pushing, or holding, and can be taken directly at the goal.
Indirect free kicks, on the other hand, are awarded for less serious fouls, such as obstruction or dangerous play, and require the ball to touch another player before it can be scored.
While both types of free kicks can result in goals, direct free kicks are generally considered to be more dangerous to the opposition, as they allow the attacking team to take a shot on goal without any interference from the defending team.
Indirect free kicks, on the other hand, require more teamwork and coordination, as the ball must be passed to another player before it can be scored.
It is important to note that the rules for direct and indirect free kicks can vary depending on the level of play and the specific league or tournament.
Understanding the difference between direct and indirect free kicks is just one of the many aspects of soccer that makes the game so exciting and enjoyable.
Whether you are a player or a parent of a youth soccer player, taking the time to learn the rules and regulations of the game can help you appreciate the beauty and complexity of this ‘beautiful game’.